SUBJECT: 2016-17 Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) Competitive Grant #3
INITIATED BY: District Attorney/Victim-Witness Assistance Program
Background: In July of 1989, the Office of the District Attorney began operating a Crime Victim Assistance Program. In October of 1992, the Victim-Witness Assistance Program was awarded the first Crime Victim Assistance Grant, thereby broadening the program for the provision of basic services. In July of 1995, additional funds were received from the 5% Crime Victim Surcharge Fund, thus allowing the program to expand services to all 6 counties within the Chattahoochee Judicial Circuit. Successful grant allocations since that time have sustained the program. Although still understaffed, the office currently employs a Director of Victim Services and 7.5 Victim Advocates.
Analysis: If approved for FY17, the Criminal Justice Coordinating Georgia will allocate $45,776 to Muscogee County Government to support the Victim-Witness Assistance Program for the grant year October 1, 2016 through September 30, 2017. The Criminal Justice Coordinating Council requires a 20% match that totals $11,444 and a portion will be cash ($8,583) and 25% (which is $2,861) must be in the form of volunteer hours specified as In-Kind contributions. The District Attorney requests Council’s authorization to utilize $8,583 from the 5% Crime Victim Surcharge Funds, which is the required cash match.
The total amount of $57,220 represents the salary, benefits and match for one full-time Victim Advocate position to provide direct services to crime victims in all 6 counties of the Chattahoochee Judicial Circuit.
Grant Funded Victim Advocate – Full-time $57,220
Financial Considerations: The total award figure of $57,220 represents salary, benefits and match for a full time position. The Federal allocation is $45,776 along with $8,583 from the 5% Crime Victim Surcharge Fund and $2,861 from the required In-Kind Match in the form of volunteer hours.
Projected Annual Fiscal Impact Statement: Due to the cash match coming from the 5% Crime Victim Surcharge Fund, there will be no annual fiscal impact as a result of this grant.
Legal Considerations: Georgia Law requires the District Attorney provide extensive services, information and notification to crime victims. (O.C.G.A.-17-17-1) The District Attorney is solely and directly responsible for complying with this law as mandated by the Victims’ Bill of Rights. Legislature acknowledges that this mandate places additional burdens on prosecutors and have designed laws enabling utilization of the 5% Crime Victim Surcharge Fund to assist in easing said burdens.
Recommendations/Actions: Authorize submission and, if approved, acceptance of a grant in the amount of $45,776 from the Georgia Criminal Justice Coordinating Council, along with $8,583 from the 5% Crime Victim Surcharge Fund, in order to provide direct services to crime victims throughout the Chattahoochee Judicial Circuit. This action will provide the funding for at least the next three years in the form of an annual continuation grant.